Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment
Verso, 2007 - 442 pages
Once themost lucrative European colony in the Caribbean, Haiti has long beenone of the most divided and impoverished countries in the world. In thelate 1980s a remarkable popular mobilization known as Lavalas, or “theflood,” sought to liberate the island from decades of US-backeddictatorial rule. After winning a landslide election victory, in 1991the Lavalas government led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wasoverthrown by a bloody military coup. Damming the Floodanalyzes how and why Aristide's enemies in Haiti, the US and Francemade sure that his second government, elected with another overwhelmingmajority in 2000, was toppled by a further coup in 2004.
The elaborate international campaign to contain, discredit and thenoverthrow Lavalas at the start of the twenty-first century was perhapsthe most successful act of imperial sabotage since the end of the ColdWar. Its execution and its impact have much to teach anyone interestedin the development of today's political struggles in Latin America andthe rest of the post-colonial world.
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Some of the many thousands of people who came out to listen to listen to Aristide
on his first day back in the country told reporters that “ before the foreigners leave
, they have to destroy the army [ . . . ] . Every night , they break into our houses ...
We had not the slightest inkling that he would be prepared to leave , on that day ,
” so Aristide ' s sudden decision to flee “ caught us totally off - guard . ” : 156 Colin
Powell ' s Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega too “ found it rather ...
The president will never leave ! " 218 At first , recall OP members Belizaire
Printemps and Elias Clovis , “ We all thought it was a joke . No - one could
believe it . " 219 Until he heard what had really happened , even an unwavering
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